Speculative Practicescapes of Learning Design and Dreaming

Costello, Eamon; McDonald, Jason; Macgilchrist, Felicitas; Jandrić, Petar; Carbonel, Henrietta; Crighton, Sally; Buch, Anders and Peters, Michael A. (2024). Speculative Practicescapes of Learning Design and Dreaming. Postdigital Science and Education (early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-024-00465-5


This article addresses a serious issue that besets learning design: its over-reliance on frameworks that promise particular outcomes for individual learners that accord with pre-defined metrics. This is partly a function of the nature of learning design and development itself which is commonly seen as outcome-oriented activity that should benefit individual learners in specific ways. An alternative approach is adopted here which calls attention to other happenings at the heart of education, including positive emotions we experience that are made known through less measurable and more fleeting points of reference. Hence, we draw on sources such as poems and personal reflections in order not just to design learning but to dream it. The concept of a practicescape is invoked which serves not just to situate learning but to remind the learner that their learning experience only happens within the context of their finite lifetime. Seven practicescapes are presented and reflected on by the authors as a conversation framework for interrogating ideas of learning that owe more to dreams, poems, and possibilities than aims, objectives, or outcomes. Drawing on early Buddhist philosophy, the practicescapes attempt to honour particular affective states and conjure a heart-centred framework on which to hang speculative questions and provocations for learning design that are focused on cultivating and sustaining the most positive forms of human experience. These practicescapes are offered as a speculative learning design climbing frame that could take us from dreams of possibility to enlivened and embodied presents.

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